What distinguishes the EUNICE alliance?
The BTU forms the EUNICE (European UNIversity for Customised Education) alliance with the University of Cantabria, University of Catania, University of Mons, Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France, University of Vaasa, and Poznan University of Technology. What all the partner universities have in common is that they tend to be located away from the urban centres of their respective countries. As a result, they have similar problems in recruiting students and staff. In addition, the regions of some partner universities are also facing challenges of structural change.
What does it mean to be a "European University"?
On 16 July 2020, the BTU was awarded the title of "European University" in an alliance with six universities by the EU Commission. The BTU forms the alliance EUNICE (European UNIversity for Customised Education) with these six similarly sized universities. The EU Commission has so far awarded the "European University" distinction to 41 alliances in a competitive procedure involving 116 applications. 280 individual institutions make up the 41 European alliances that have now been determined.
For the BTU, this is also an honor, because it appears in this context together with renowned German universities. In Germany, for example, the following universities have been awarded as European Universities thus far: HU and TU Berlin, FAU Erlangen- Nürnberg, RWTH Aachen and the universities in Göttingen, Konstanz, Cologne and Bonn. A total of 20 higher education institutions from Germany are represented, including smaller ones, such as the TU Freiberg and the University of Applied Sciences Mittweida.
How did the idea of "European Universities" come about?
This initiative started with French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the Sorbonne in September 2017. The European Commission then proposed this new initiative to EU leaders ahead of the Gothenburg Social Summit in November 2017, as part of the overall vision of building a European education area by 2025. The initiative was endorsed by the European Council in December 2017, which called for the emergence of at least 20 European universities by 2024. The speech by Emmanuel Macron, then 39 years old, at Paris University on 26 September 2017 was about security and innovation. He spoke about dealing with migration, about Europe as an economic power and as a guarantor of sustainable development. In implementation, the EU Commission has described the establishment of "world-class European universities working seamlessly across borders" as a key factor for the further development of the European Community.
What are the advantages for scientific and non-scientific BTU entities that want to participate in this project?
For all those involved in the project, this new work across borders means a great gain in knowledge through direct comparison. Beyond this broadening of horizons, the partner universities increase their network and enlarge the scientific, student, and administrative community. For young people, the EUNICE consortium can contribute to student recruitment and retention. By being able to mutually use the infrastructure of seven universities, they will be better utilised and synergies can arise from this. These spin-offs can also be expected in terms of initiating international research projects.
How can non-scientific entities of the BTU participate in EUNICE?
Non-scientific entities can participate in EUNICE through an exchange in which they are willing to network more closely with their "mirror" departments, for example, in order to learn about administrative processes and, if necessary, to support each other through best practices.
In the area of entrepreneurship, for example, the campuses with their already existing start-up centres can be easily visited, so that each of the partners involved can learn and profit from these already functioning show cases. Internationalisation in the area of knowledge and technology transfer can also be simulated by such an exchange.
How can individual disciplines participate?
Disciplines can make their infrastructure available within the network, thus stimulating an exchange between scientists within the consortium. The goal is to facilitate opportunities for research visits for all participants and to highlight the attractiveness of the respective institution.
What does EUNICE (European UNIversity for Customised Education) mean?
Since the Bologna Reform, the theoretical possibility exists throughout Europe that students can have their modules reciprocally recognised much easier, thus increasing student mobility. Ideally, this should lead to students at partner universities being able to put together a module portfolio that is partly geared to their individual wishes and interests.
How does the EU support the European Universities?
A total budget of up to €287 million is available for the 41 European Universities. Each alliance receives up to €5 million from the Erasmus+ programme and up to €2 million from Horizon 2020, for a period of three years, to start implementing their plans and pave the way for more higher educational institutions in the EU. Funding from both programmes is an important step towards strengthening the European education and research area.
Specifically, the EU funding means that each higher education consortium will receive €5 million for a start-up phase of three years, with a funding rate of 80%. For each consortium, this means that it will have to contribute 20% of its own budget, which will be funded proportionally from the budgets of each participating university.
In addition, the German government supports the establishment of European Universities. In the case of EUNICE, this is realised through DAAD funding of €750,000 spanning over three years. In addition, Horizon2020 funding will be contributed for "Support for the Research and Innovation Dimension of European Universities" in the amount of €2 million spanning over three years for the entire consortium. This additional funding is still to be applied for and is to be distinguished from the direct funding. However, these sums are reserved for each approved consortium in Germany.
What does this mean for the BTU in concrete terms?
All areas of the BTU, faculties as well as administration, can and should participate in the large-scale EUNICE project. All areas are invited to contribute their ideas and suggestions to enrich the European alliance, EUNICE (European UNIversity for Customised Education). Administrative departments can learn from each other through the mutual exchange of best practice experiences. In teaching, joint modules up to degree programmes with the partner universities are in demand. Of course, joint research projects as well as the exchange of knowledge and technology transfer are also part of this. Ideally, all pillars of the seven participating alliance Universities should be integrated with each other in such a way that a new European umbrella university is created that follows the content programme of EUNICE.
What is the goal?
The goal is to strengthen cooperation within the alliances. Students, scientists, and employees thus have the opportunity to network more closely with each other and to make better use of the joint offers, the infrastructure such as laboratories, and the jointly available know-how from all areas. Through this exchange of knowledge and closer cooperation, the EU aims to be better able to meet the political, economical, and cultural challenges - even now in times of a pandemic.
EUNICE has the task of increasing the national and regional attractiveness of all partners, as cooperation with the regional economy is very important for the EUNICE alliance. Through international university contacts, the often very regionally oriented economy can be internationalised and thus become more competitive.
European universities include various types of higher education institutions: from universities of applied sciences to technical and art colleges in the field of film and media to comprehensive and research-intensive universities. These alliances involve about 280 institutions from all EU member states and other countries, located not only in capital cities but also in peripheral European regions. The individual alliances are composed of an average of seven higher education institutions. While some alliances pursue a holistic, multidisciplinary approach, others focus, for example, on sustainable development, health and well-being, digitalisation and artificial intelligence, art, engineering, or space.
All areas of BTU - faculties as well as administration - can and should participate in the large-scale EUNICE project. All areas are invited to contribute their ideas and suggestions to enrich the European alliance EUNICE (European UNIversity for Customised Education). Administrative departments can learn from each other through the mutual exchange of best practice experiences. In teaching, joint modules up to study programmes with the partner universities are in demand. Of course, joint research projects as well as the exchange for knowledge and technology transfer are part of the program. Ideally, all the pillars of the seven participating alliance universities should interlock with each other in such a way that a new European umbrella university is created, which follows the content program of EUNICE.